ECITB skills strategy, Leading Industry Learning, supports industry growth

The ECITB’s strategy, Leading Industry Learning, will support growth in the engineering construction industry and pledges more than £87m to support workforce training and tackle labour shortages and skills gaps over the three year period.

Published by the employer-led Board of the ECITB, the strategy sets out a three-year plan, from 2023-25, to help bring talented new entrants with foundation skills into industry as well as support ongoing training and the reskilling of workers moving from other sectors.

Developed following extensive consultation with industry, training providers and UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, the strategy builds on measures enacted by the ECITB to secure skills during the pandemic. The focus now is on supporting growth by helping to address industry recruitment and retention challenges, as employers look to expand the workforce to deliver a growing number of projects earmarked on the horizon.

Cover of the ECITB Strategy 2023-25: Leading Industry Learning

The priorities identified by the ECITB aim to help industry tackle a looming workforce and skills crisis. The ECITB forecasts 25,000 additional workers are needed for major projects, including those related to net zero, by 2026, placing employers in direct competition for labour from £650bn of infrastructure projects in the wider UK economy. And the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy has upped the stakes further, placing greater pressure on industry and the engineering construction supply chain to expand to meet new energy generating capacity targets.

Andrew Hockey ECITB Chief Executive

Andrew Hockey, ECITB Chief Executive

Andrew Hockey, Chief Executive of the ECITB, said: “The engineering construction industry and its supply chain companies engineer, project manage and install much of the critical infrastructure required across Great Britain.  Put simply, it ensures the economy has energy security, clean water, food and drink and the everyday products that we all rely on.

“The industry is also critical to providing all of these in a sustainable way as we aim to meet the nations’ energy transition ambitions.

“The ECITB’s new strategy is designed to help address the main workforce challenges facing this vitally important industry over the next three years.

“We have prioritised support for new entrants and new pathways into industry in anticipation of the forecast labour shortages. We will work collaboratively to optimise the funds available and actively promote the diversity of the workforce joining the industry.

“To bridge identified skills gaps we will fund training, supporting the transition of workers for net zero projects and improving digital skills.

“In developing the strategy, the ECITB listened closely to employers, training providers, government representatives and other key stakeholders.

“We aim to deliver what industry has said it needs – a focus on attracting and developing new talent and the provision of high-quality training across Britain.

“For the ECITB, our mission to lead industry learning has never been more important than it is now.”

The ECITB, which is funded by a levy on engineering construction industry employers and steered by a Board comprised of senior leaders from industry, will allocate £73m towards training grants over the next strategy period. More than half (52%) will fund ongoing training, upskilling and reskilling, while the remaining 48% will support new entrants to start careers in industry via a variety of different pathways.

The 2023-25 strategy aims to help industry meet the workforce volume challenge and prepare for a boom in project activity for engineering construction employers. These projects span a range of sectors including nuclear new build and decommissioning, renewables, oil and gas, water treatment and food and drink. They will also include hydrogen and carbon capture projects linked to the decarbonisation of the industrial clusters, which are at the heart of the country’s net zero plans.

The strategy is the culmination of 12 months’ work and extensive consultation with employers, training providers, clients and government representatives. This includes over 17 strategy workshops held across Britain earlier in the year.